Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mountain biking in Dalat

There are a number of adventure type activities you can do around Dalat such as trekking, white water rafting, abseiling, kayaking and mountain biking. We had never done any mountain biking before so thought, how hard can it be. Firstly, let me say that we are both happy we did it and very happy that it is over. We have come to two conclusions;

1. We are both unfit
2. Mountain biking is probably not something we will pursue in the future

That being said, we did really enjoy it and would recommend people giving it a try. We drove around 30km out of Dalat before being dropped, a little prematurely, on a rocky, dirt road that lead us to the bike track. I say prematurely because the car could not get through a very muddy section so had to leave us and our two guides to make our own way to the track. Normally this would not be a problem BUT the bike track was 4km away up what was virtually a continuous hill. Cheers!

Celine attempted the muddy mess in front of us and was doing really well until she lost balance. A second later her left shoe, new by the way, went straight into the mud so she could stay upright. Cheers again. She persevered and continued on, successfully completing the first 10m of our 30km ride.

The uphill ascent was grueling for both of us. It was never-ending and many of our rarely used muscles were not happy at all. At times we had to get off the bike and push it. We felt embarrassed but seriously this was not the setting for beginners, unfit beginners at that. We were happy we were the only two on the tour.

After what seemed and eternity, exhausted and sweaty, we reached the start of the actual bike trail. We gulped a banana and chatted to our friendly guides. They had great English. Once on the track, thin, bumpy and wet, we had to negotiate a virtually continuous decent. My leg muscles took a break and my arm muscles took over having to break nonstop as we weaved around rocks, gaps, bumps and numerous other obstacles on our path. Celine was in her element though, mountain biking DOWN is her thing :)

It was only when we stopped for a break that we realized how beautiful the landscape was. The rest of the time we were concentrating on the road. Many motorbikes from the nearby villages use the path and with the frequent rain it has in places turned into a mud bath. It wasn’t long until my foot went straight into the mud, covered for the rest of the trip.

When we reached flat sections it was great. The scenery was green with pine trees and various other Vietnamese floras. We passed locals carting charcoal back to their village. Earlier massive trucks carted pine trunks causing us to move off the road to let them through. We had lunch looking up at green hills covered in coffee plantations. We crossed a bridge made from thin planks of wood, which were just thrown on top of each other, none tied down or connected in anyway. As we pushed our bike over the bridge we could see the stream below through gaping gaps. Can you say Death bridge?? Now I know why they asked us to sign a liability waiver before we started the trip.
When we reached the main road we called it quits which turned out to be a great idea as the rain soon was bucketing down. We had a coffee at the nearby local village and waited for the car to come and pick us up. After 4 hours we were tired and happy to be back in the car but we can both say, in hindsight, that it was a great thing to do. We had anticipated a bit more of the relatively flat terrain but instead got a decent workout. I think we will sleep well tonight.


  1. That's one shonky bridge. Is that how Australians use the term "shonky" to describe such things?

  2. Salut les amoureux.
    Je le regarde régulièrement votre blog, ce qui donne l'impression que vous êtes toujours en vacances. Je vous embrasse depuis l'Amérique du Sud.Bonne continuation

  3. Yes, we would definately use the word 'shonky', which we use for things of bad quality or to describe a person who is dishonest.

  4. Mais non on n'est pas toujours en vacances. On bosse dur, quand on est a Hanoi...au moins 18 heures par semaine. :)